This is where the biggest differences in system design show up. Low voltage
DC is safer from shock but just as much of a fire hazard. AC electricity
from inverters is safer than grid power; an inverter will shut down sooner
than a breaker in many short circuit situations. But this is no excuse
for shoddy wiring.
.We offer Three levels of safety : The Renegade,
NEC code compliant, NEC plus
UL vs CSA vs NEC vs SAEvs NABCEP
UL: Underwriters Laboratories, tests and approves equipment
for safety. Most inverters, wiring, breakers, conduit, solar modules,
etc. are UL listed. fuel generators, wind generators, & integrated
solar packages are not UL listed.
SAE is the Society of Automotive Engineers, they provide
standards for wiring of most low voltage DC systems in the US: autos
& RVs. Automotive type fusing, battery cables, & batteries
are usually SAE approved, but not UL listed.
NEC: National Electrical Code provides standards that most
residential & commercial wiring have to meet. It has a specific
section dealing with solar equipment installed in houses (article
690)NEC does not cover stand alone generators, power systems, or
wind generators, only their interconnection to the house wiring.
NEC recommends UL listed equipment, but does not require
it. SAE is not mentioned in the NEC.
Local inspectors generally adopt the NEC, but can interpret the
code very differently in different places.
NEC Code compliant vs UL approved: code compliant means the
assembly uses UL listed components and is wired to meet the letter
of the code. UL listed means that the entire assembly is UL approved
and therefore the entire power board can not be challenged by the
The Renegade uses a mixture of UL
listed components and SAE components that
an inspector might frown upon, but its still safe. The basic wiring is
the same: All circuits are fused, etc. The main difference is that low
voltage (12v) wiring is exposed and automotive type fuses are used. This
meets or exceeds standards for vehicles, RVs, small cabins, portable systems,
All our other systems are at least NEC Code Compliant . It uses
UL listed components where ever appropriate, and should pass inspection.
It is up to the buyer to research local code enforcement and determine
local practices. Some areas adhere to strict enforcement, other areas
have ignored smaller homes in remote areas. Check with neighbors who are
on solar. Using this level of system will insure that it will pass even
if inspected later. UL approved complete power boards available by special
order. UL approval is not necessary for safety, but can help with a difficult
NEC plus lightning protection: NEC alone does not adequately address
the single most common safety issue we see: Lightning. This level of safety
not only includes Polyphasor lightning protection, but an advanced grounding
system designed for your site, A DC Light if the inverter shuts off is
NEC plus Battery Containment: if the system will be located in
an interior living space, we reccomend these advances. Lead Acid Batteries
emit Hydrogen Sulfide gas when charging. In small quantities it isn't
noticable, but larger battery banks and charging sources can produce high
enough concentrations that the gas smells like rotten eggs, is poisonous,
and is flammable. The NEC has no specifics on batteries, boxes, or their
WE use all acid resistant materials, special maintenance equipment, and
an advanced venting system designed for your room. If the batteries are
located outside of your living space in an adequately ventilated area,
these extra precautions may not be necessary.
Check out a guy who doesn't believe